The November JOLTS Report Highlights the Enduring Strength of the Labor Market

Job openings were revised upwards from 10.3M to 10.5M in October and held steady in November—a testament to the resilience of demand for labor on Main Street, even as job openings tumbled on Wall Street. The latest JOLTS report indicates a robust and unusually tight labor market where job openings and monthly hires are still well above pre-pandemic levels, and job openings exceed the number of unemployed job seekers by more than 4 million. 

The strong official data is consistent with ZipRecruiter’s real-time marketplace data on online job postings and hiring, which showed unseasonal strength in activity in November, despite rising interest rates and widespread recession fears.

Given the availability of high-quality job opportunities, companies continue to struggle with employee retention. The latest JOLTS report suggests the Great Resignation is still very much underway, with employee quits surging to 4.2M in November. They have now been above 4 million for 18 straight months, after measuring 3.4M right before the pandemic and averaging just 2.6M between 2000 and 2020. Quits hit an all-time record high in transportation, warehousing, and utilities—one sector particularly affected by job-switching and industry-hopping.

Job openings also reached a record high for major enterprises—firms with more than 5,000 employees—after increasing 7% over the month, from 309K in October to 332K in November. However, job openings decreased substantially—8% over the month—in mid-sized businesses with 250 to 999 employees.

Despite news headlines about widespread layoffs, nationwide layoff levels remain historically low across all company sizes. Small businesses with 10 to 49 employees had the lowest number of layoffs on record in November, with only 289k employees losing their jobs involuntarily.

Written by

Julia Pollak is Chief Economist at ZipRecruiter. She leads ZipRecruiter's economic research team, which provides insights and analysis on current labor market trends and the future of work.

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